The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $150 million investment to make monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments available for patients in vulnerable communities nationwide.
The initiative is part of an effort to promote health equity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS announced March 17.
The funding is designed to increase administration of monoclonal antibody treatments in “hard-hit communities,” according to a news release. The therapy was made available on an emergency basis by the Food and Drug Administration and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing hospitalization and death in patients with early-stage COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health recommends the treatments for non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are deemed to be at high risk of developing severe disease.
“Assistance may include additional staffing, infusion center capacity in traditional and non-traditional health care settings, and equipment to administer the intravenous infusion treatments,” HHS stated. “The effort will also increase awareness among health care providers and patients about the treatment options available, including where and how to access them.”
The announcement did not include information on the process by which funding will be allocated. Distributions will be made to communities that have a high prevalence of COVID-19 and are determined to be particularly at risk based on the CDC’s social vulnerability index, which uses 15 U.S. census variables to indicate vulnerable communities.